Managing director Lee Charnley has endured a frustrating summer with the Magpies having failed to land a single target.
Reports over the weekend suggested that the club were in advanced talks with PSV Eindhoven over Netherlands international midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, a man they have been tracking for some time.
However, it is understood talks have not progressed to the point where a deal is anywhere near imminent.
Indeed, that remains the case with all of the club’s top targets with the likes of QPR striker Charlie Austin, Wolfsburg’s Bas Dost and Aleksandar Mitrovic of Anderlecht remaining tantalisingly out of their grasp.
That is not the situation McClaren had envisaged when he arrived at St James’ Park last month looking to play his part in a major overhaul of the squad following owner Mike Ashley’s pledge to address the deficiencies which very nearly led to disaster last season.
The remaining members of the playing staff the former England boss inherited were due back for pre-season training yesterday after the bulk returned last Wednesday, and in an ideal world, there would have been several new faces on board by now.
But negotiations have proved less than smooth, with Newcastle now targeting proven quality rather than the potential they have sought in recent years, meaning higher fees and greater competition.